Biden’s budget wish list: Restore the CDC, build a new NIH research center, pump in billions to end the opioid and HIV epidemics
President Joe Biden’s first budget request (Congress is the ultimate decider on budgets) for FY 2022 includes a massive influx of funds to the CDC, plans to launch a new $6.5 billion research center within the NIH, as well as almost $11 billion to end the opioid epidemic and another $670 million to aggressively reduce new HIV cases.
But details on what exactly this new $6.5 billion, DARPA-like, NIH-based center, to be known as Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H), will research remain to be seen. Biden’s budget request only said the center will initially focus on a wide range of diseases that other NIH centers typically work on.
“With an initial focus on cancer and other diseases such as diabetes and Alzheimer’s, this major investment in Federal research and development would drive transformational innovation in health research and speed application and implementation of health breakthroughs,” the request says.
At $6.5 billion, the center will have about as much annual funding as the National Cancer Institute received in FY 2021. The funds are part of a $9 billion requested increase for NIH overall.
Following the Trump administration’s sidelining of the CDC, Biden’s discretionary request also includes $8.7 billion for the agency — a jump of $1.6 billion over the 2021 enacted level, the largest budget authority increase in nearly two decades — to “restore capacity at the world’s preeminent public health agency.” The new funds will help to modernize public health data collection, train new epidemiologists and other public health experts, and build international capacity to detect, prepare for, and respond to global public health threats.
In addition, Biden also seeks an investment of $10.7 billion, an increase of $3.9 billion over the 2021 enacted level, to support research, prevention, treatment, and recovery support services related to the opioid epidemic. The administration said those funds will include targeted investments to support those with unique needs, including Native Americans, older Americans, and rural communities.
Another $670 million in the proposal for HHS will aim to help accelerate and strengthen efforts to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the US by increasing access to treatment, expanding the use of pre-exposure prophylaxis, and improving equitable access to services and support.
Overall, the president’s 2022 discretionary request includes $131.7 billion for HHS, which is a $25 billion or 24% increase from 2021.
Notably absent in the budget request is any detail related to the FDA’s budget. The request merely says the administration “would make investments to enhance FDA’s organizational capacity.” The FDA portion of the president’s full request will likely include more detail.